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Fighting antibiotic resistance in livestock and pets

Plenary Session Press release - Agriculture12-05-2011 - 13:06

Resistance to antibiotics in livestock and pets has become a huge issue in recent years. To cope with this growing problem and the consequent treatment failures, Parliament issued a call on Thursday for more research and better monitoring of the effects of antimicrobials on food-producing animals and pets. It would also help if antibiotics were used less, stress MEPs.

All Member States should "perform regular systematic surveillance and monitoring of animal antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in both food producing and companion animals", says Parliament's resolution, which was tabled by Paolo De Castro (S&D, IT) on behalf of the Agriculture Committee.

"If used properly antibiotics are a useful tool but we ask the Commission for concrete measures to achieve more efficient use of antimicrobials so as to reduce resistance in animals", said Mr De Castro during the debate on Wednesday. It was a problem "that can have consequences for human health", he added.

"Resistance to antibiotics is in fact the greatest threat against both animal health and human health. (...) Do not forget that both animals and humans in these respects are mammals", said Marit Paulsen (ALDE, SV), who drafted the report.

Reducing the use of antibiotics

Methods of animal husbandry should be devised to help avoid the use of antibiotics, say MEPs, and more research should be done into new products and alternative methods, to cut the use of antimicrobials while still controlling animal diseases.

More controls on antibiotics for animals to manage effects on human health

The budget for the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) should be increased to allow more inspections and studies in this field and to monitor the 2006 ban on antimicrobials as growth promoters.

Lastly, the Commission is asked to devise an EU-wide plan to combat AMR in pets and food producing animals and to focus on the connection between animal health and the use of antimicrobials and hence the link between animal and human health.

Procedure:  Non-legislative resolution

REF. : 20110511IPR19211